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If you have older children, what's your working pattern and is it a good balance?

18 replies

BoogleMcGroogle · 25/10/2020 14:02

Mine are now 9 and 11 and I still feel like I'm running to catch up. They need support with homework, still attend some clubs, there's various ferrying and liaising to so. While DH is very supportive, he doesn't log off until 6.30, so it's generally my responsibility. In fact, now it feels harder than when they were tiny and we used formal childcare. I work for myself and so (in theory), I have more choice over my work patterns, but find myself working all of the time they are at school, and have very little flexibility to catch up on things and attend appointments (mine and theirs). On top of this, perimenopause is, at times, leaving me inefficient, tired and feeling in need of my own space/ interests. Given I do have a little flexibility to change my working pattern (and even reduce the work I take on, although that can be hard when you work for yourself), it would be really helpful to hear about others' working patterns, and what the balance feels like.

OP posts:
DonaldTrumpsChopper · 25/10/2020 14:08

I pretty much work school hours. Fantastic for my dcs, as I'm around after school to do clubs, help with homework, listen to their news and cook a decent dinner.

Downside is that I'm constantly knackered.

Devilesko · 25/10/2020 14:20

I don't work and dh works a bit from home. Our 16 year old is a boarder, so away during school.

Nackajory · 25/10/2020 14:24

I'm full time mainly office hours, single parent. My kids are developing their independence more quickly than I had planned but so far they seem well adjusted. Whatever works for your particular situation. I'm lucky my kids are sensible.

isittimetogotobed · 25/10/2020 14:27

I work normal office hours 9-5:30. My children are older teens and primary age. It is what it is, everything else has to be fitted in somehow.

BoogleMcGroogle · 25/10/2020 14:47

DonaldTrumpsChopper I also find working school hours very tiring. I have been wondering if it's just my age, as I managed work really well when they were younger. There is just so much to fit in!

I think it doesn't help that most of my close friends are SAHP, so their pace of life is perhaps different.

OP posts:
badlydrawnbear · 25/10/2020 15:35

DC are 9 and almost 6. I work 13hr days and 12hr nights, usually a mix of both in the same week. It is not a good balance in any way. I am constantly exhausted. I don't see DC on work days. DH works a very flexible office hours job, currently from home.

TriSkiRun99 · 25/10/2020 15:40

It depends on the job too. I still use a Childminder after school for my 9yr till 5.30pm on my longer days, whilst my teenager just comes home and makes herself a snack. As they get older the taxi duties get later it seems to. Pick up for her clubs is 9-9.30pm. So now the evenings disappear as well! If you are peri-meno and struggling do consider HRT it’s been my lifesaver from my mid-40s.

ScrapThatThen · 25/10/2020 16:29

At that age my NHS job allowed me to work 'annualised' hours - so on term time I worked 10-2.30 mon-fri (I had a 45 minute commute and had to do school pick up). And in the holidays I worked 2 days per week 9-5.

BackforGood · 25/10/2020 16:58

Mine were about that age when I was able to start wfh for part of the day or week, and it was perfect..... fetch from school, (in lieu of a lunch break) have a chat as you walk home, but then they are old enough to entertain themselves whilst you settle back to work.

Occasionally I would block out the time to take one to a match, and obviously then put that time in during the evening or weekend. I felt very privileged to be in that position. It will obviously depend on what your job is, and how much of it is "being in a meeting" or delivering training or whatever, where you physically have to be there at a certain time, and how much of it is stuff you can do outside of the traditional 9 - 5 (e-mails, planning, writing reports, inputting data, etc etc etc).

Macaroni46 · 25/10/2020 17:14

@Devilesko sounds like bliss! Out of interest, what do you do all day?

foxes15 · 25/10/2020 17:22

I work 7 til 2 4 days a week and a Sunday 7 til 11, I like my day off in the week and still have most of the weekend free, I’m lucky I’m able to choose my working hours.

NewCatMummy · 25/10/2020 17:30

8-3 then ferry kids around after school while sorting dinner and homework. They hated going home to an empty house when I worked later at secondary age (too old for childcare) so I shifted hours to be home with them. Means I have no time without them but they can do the activities that they want.

reefedsail · 25/10/2020 17:31

DS is 10 and in Y6 at a prep that is about 5 minutes walk door to door. I'm a teacher in a state primary and DH is a teacher in a full boarding school (evenings, weekends etc).

DH leaves for work at 5.30am and I leave at 7.10am. Before covid DS went in for school breakfast that time. Now he walks himself in at 8am (breakfast only for boarders). He's let out at 5.10pm and walks home. I try to be home at roughly the same time as him to do dinner etc.

DS has a hobby that frequently (several times a month) means we are out of the house 6am - 6pm both days of the weekend. If we get a few of those weekends in a row with no break, I am utterly, thoroughly exhausted. DH can't help because his job doesn't go away at the weekend.

Our lives are held together by the school holidays.

Jellycatspyjamas · 25/10/2020 17:52

I work part time and run a small business. I have a 2 day/3 day work pattern in my day job and the kids go to aftercare 3 days a week to accommodate that. I run my business 2 days a week during school hours and work 2 evenings a week.

It means I have time with the kids after school on a Monday/Tuesday and my DH takes over on those night for my client work, i then have time with them on the other nights of the week when they get home from after school care. I was doing bits of work at the weekend but realise that’s not realistic as the kids need more entertainment over the weekend so I struggled to get the time I needed to work. Every second week I have a full day to myself to catch up on housework or just relax, which I find invaluable.

It sounds complicated but is actually a good balance for me at the moment, and means I have wiggle room if I need it. It also means that I have time with them both at some point over the weekend. DH and I negotiate free time for us both over the weekend to fit in hobbies or down time.

Jellycatspyjamas · 25/10/2020 17:53

Oh and my kids are 7 and 9, I’m definitely finding they need more if my time as they get older.

Gizlotsmum · 25/10/2020 17:55

I work 7 till 2 ish 4 days a week (some weeks I will do more as work requires) youngest DC is in breakfast club, eldest gets school bus. Means I am around for after school and weekends. DH finishes (usually) at 6 but is 45 min drive from home.

Hoppinggreen · 25/10/2020 18:02

DC 11 and 15, both at a school 5 mins walk away.
DH currently working from home but usually works 7-4 about 45 minutes away. I work from home and will always do so (occasional trip to London or overseas) 5 hours a day. Times depend on which continent I am dealing with but I can arrange my own meetings in general.

mindutopia · 25/10/2020 18:59

Mine are school age but slightly younger (and I have one in nursery too). My working pattern is 8:30-4:45 ish 4 days a week (M-Th) and then I work an hour or two in the evenings those days too. Dh does the morning school run and I do the afternoon one, but then come back to finish working until 4:45 (dc fend for themselves downstairs). I have Fridays off as my littlest one is not in nursery that day. Honestly, I don't have any issues working full days. The key is dh is as engaged as I am and I'm not just left to do all the running around. In normal times, actually I work quite long hours (7-7) usually 3 days a week, then one normal ish day, and dh does all the running around those days. But I think we've worked hard to have good work life balance. Dh is home by 5/5:30 every day and then we both work in the even after bedtime, but it means we have solid family time all together each day. I go for runs at lunchtime or on the weekend or on a morning when dh does the school run, so try to carve out some time for myself in there too. Having the 1 day off a week does help too (even though I have a dc with me). I used to work compressed hours full time, but now I work .80 FTE due to COVID, but it still preserves me the extra day.

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